Through my baptismal calling, in fact through each person, we cannot or may not be people who sit on the sidelines. According to our gifts, to our abilities we play an integral part in evangelisation. I am in the position where through my role of offering formation I can directly encourage and support those in lay pastoral ministry.
Meet a Lay Minister
My love for music is what led me to begin my Music Ministry work. I have always been keen to learn all forms of music and wanted to develop my skills as a musician. The profound meaning behind the music and its purpose has brought me closer to God and has motivated me to contribute more. As such, I am currently also leading the Youth Ministry and Social Justice group at our parish.
I retired at 58, the earliest age I could take my superannuation. I had worked for 20 years as a senior psychologist in Sydney and I was burnt out. However, I was not ready to give up working altogether, and I was looking around for something either in the church or as an aid worker. Bishop David Walker the then Bishop of Broken Bay wrote an article in the Broken Bay News asking women to come forward and join a new community. The aim of the community was to give women a chance of leadership roles in the diocese and to bring a feminine influence to the diocese. We were told we would be under the same conditions as the diocesan priests. Four women were accepted. We made two promises, celibacy, and obedience to the bishop. We were to live a simple life and we were to live together in community. We were to called Ecclesial Women and our group Mary Star of the Sea Community. The name later changed to Mary Star of the Sea Association. The Bishop said that we would be given ministries according to our gifts. I was appointed to work in a parish as a pastoral worker and this has been my main role for the last 11 years though I have also worked in schools and at Catholic Care.
I felt a strong calling after World Youth Day in Sydney 2008 to contribute more to the church. I had been volunteering with a youth group, but then took a position as Diocesan Youth Ministry for four years. After that, I coordinated some pastoral care programs with the Diocese of Townsville, which included Hospital visitors and Prison chaplains. The work of the volunteers in those programs inspired me and challenged me to see the church as more than just people in the pews on Sunday, or being active in just one way. Our community is larger than we can see, and we need to be constantly aware of how to be inclusive of the people who can easily become invisible.
I am involved at various levels of pastoral ministry, within my own parish and within my work role. My work role is the implementation of mission and spiritual formation of volunteers within a lay Catholic organisation.
My own spiritual journey has perhaps been the greatest motivation to work in lay pastoral ministry. I feel that becoming a servant to others, in big and small ways, having empathy and compassion for others, and seeing Christ in every person I meet, is really a response to the transformation that has taken place in my heart because I have met and come to know God.